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Take a Hike

October 3, 2013

One might think it is rude to tell another “to take a hike.”

Well, someone told me so the other day and I was not offended.

It was my physician who told me so.

Here’s what I found out (again, for I probably always knew this).

Hiking (that translates to walking for an hour in the neighborhood for me now) is not only good for my health, it helps me sort things out in my mind.

I actually did some hiking and backpacking some years ago, and I remember going on a solo hike in the magnificent Los Padres National Forest over a weekend during a particularly difficult case I was then handling as a litigator.

This was just before the mediation I attended in which I helped the client settle the case.

(Interestingly, this was actually the last case I handled as a litigator before becoming a full time mediator.)

You know what?  The hike helped me clear my mind.

As a consequence, the path to settlement in that case became clear to me, and helped me help the client.

Today, under much different circumstances, I went for my hike in the neighborhood.

Again, while my feet took me in the direction I chose, I let my mind wander, and again, I was able to sort out some things about which I was puzzling.

I am certain that there are health professionals who can tell us more than I can say about letting the mind wander, about daydreaming, and about free association, all of which helps us think better about an issue we are facing.

But, personally, I know it can work.

So, although I fear being misconstrued telling a participant in a mediation I am conducting that he or she should “take a hike,” I can still suggest taking a break and getting some fresh air during a particularly tough moment.

Or I can even suggest actually “getting out there for a hike” between sessions.

I think the results will speak for themselves.


David I. Karp is a full time mediator of real estate and business disputes in Southern California.  His business website is .  He apologizes for any ads attached to this blog by; they are not his.

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